WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say al-Qaida's Afghanistan leader is laying the groundwork to relaunch his war-shattered organization once the United States and international forces withdraw from the country, as the allies have warned they will do without a security agreement from the Afghan government.
The officials say the al-Qaida leader has been cementing local ties and bringing in small numbers of experienced militants to train a new generation of fighters.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has stepped up drone and jet missile strikes against the leader and his followers in two mountainous eastern provinces. The objective is to keep him from restarting the large training camps that once drew hundreds of followers before the U.S.-led war began.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss counterterrorism publicly.